Free Christmas Vocal Sheet Music "Gaudete"

Free Christmas vocal sheet music "Gaudete" with piano and guitar tabs, 3 versions, below.  This beautiful Christmas carol is very old -- and very unusual.  

I will not promise that your younger students will immediately like this song!  However, old as it is (apparently 600-700 years old) it is very popular; a search at Sheetmusicplus yields 113 results! (2014)



The elegant rendition above by The King's Singers is totally outside the experience of a lot of pre-college students... but it shouldn't be!

Here is my version of the Christmas song. It is not a choral arrangement, but a single vocal line with a simple open-sounding accompaniment.  The word "Gaudete" means "Rejoice!":

Free Christmas vocal sheet music


Scroll down the page for the links to the free printable PDFs of sheet music.

Here is a closeup of the page:

Closeup of Gaudete vocal arrangement

The English translation of the Latin text is not meant to be sung; it is more literal than poetic.  I always like to know what I am singing.  The words of this free Christmas vocal sheet music are truly beautiful.

The shifting rhythm is reflected in the changing time signatures; there is a version at IMSLP that does it all in 4/4 time, but it's good for students to wrestle with a shift from 2/4 to 6/8.  Think of it as an opportunity!

There are so many fine versions of Gaudete at Youtube, that it was really hard to choose just one... so I didn't.  Here is video number two, the very beautiful early music group Medieval Babes.  Their singing starts at about 14 seconds (it's worth the wait!):


What first attracted me to this Christmas song was noticing how the shape of the medieval-sounding chords looked so easy to do on guitar... and I thought how nice this piece would sound with guitar and recorder or other treble instrument together.  

Therefore, my first version of Gaudete was the arrangement below, for "classical'-style guitar and melody instrument:

Guitar tabs and melody for Gaudete, Rejoice, Rejoice!


The guitar part - for fingerpicking, of course - is not difficult.  The hardest thing for the guitar player will be coordinating with the melody instrument.  

Therefore, I also wrote up sheet music that has a tablature line for the melody, so guitarists who don't yet read standard notation can figure out how the melody is supposed to sound:

Gaudete guitar tabs free Christmas song


This version has two pages...


Gaudete for guitar and melody instrument


And here is a closeup of this file:

Try this piece at your next Christmas (or any) recital - it will really break the routine and inject a fresh sound into your students' repertoire!

One more video... Okay, two more! First, The Bedford Family Ringers & MYKL, an all-instrumental version of Gaudete:



And lastly, "Celtic Christmas," at a very lively pace.  Wait for the deep organ drone about halfway through, then the addition of bright harp chords.  This version is anything but static:







The vocal link:


Download free Christmas vocal sheet music "Gaudete"


The guitar links:


Download guitar tablature with early Renaissance melody line Gaudete


Download Gaudete guitar chords and guitar melody tabs







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